Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Republican Sen. Susan Collins and a bipartisan group of her colleagues are wading very gently into the debate about drug companies' patent protections, specifically the "thickets" of patents that keep competitors at bay for complex biologic drugs.

Driving the news: Collins introduced a bill yesterday that would ensure that biologics' patents are included on a list the FDA already maintains.

  • Brand-name drugmakers would also have a harder time winning the inevitable lawsuits over any new patents they file after a biosimilar competitor has filed for FDA approval.

Reality check: This is not necessarily a very muscular bill.

  • Drugmakers are already pretty upfront about their patent protections; a different kind of public listing for those patents would not be a disincentive to keep filing them.

Yes, but: Any congressional interest in drug patents — and any tacit agreement that pharma companies game that system — opens a door that the industry's lobbyists are working very hard to keep closed.

Go deeper: Big Pharma's GOP firewall is weakening

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Updated 40 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 19,193,661 — Total deaths: 716,735 — Total recoveries — 11,611,029Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 4,918,927 — Total deaths: 160,737 — Total recoveries: 1,598,624 — Total tests: 59,652,675Map.
  3. Politics: White House recommends Trump issue executive orders on coronavirus aid.
  4. Education: Cuomo says all New York schools can reopen for in-person learning.
  5. Public health: Surgeon general urges flu shots to prevent "double whammy" with coronavirus — Massachusetts pauses reopening after uptick in coronavirus cases
  6. World: Africa records over 1 million coronavirus cases — Gates Foundation puts $150 million behind coronavirus vaccine production.

Trump: "We are going a different way" on coronavirus aid

President Trump. Photo: Jim Watsonn/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Friday that his administration is "going a different way" with coronavirus aid after negotiations with congressional Democrats stalled again, suggesting he will use an executive order to address stimulus spending.

What he's saying: "Pelosi and Schumer only interested in Bailout Money for poorly run Democrat cities and states. Nothing to do with China Virus! Want one trillion dollars. No interest. We are going a different way!" Trump tweeted.

Trump's swift, sweeping China offensive

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump's rhetoric on China has tended to run hotter than his actions — until now.

Why it matters: Even at the height of Trump's trade war, his administration never hit China as hard, as fast, and on as many fronts as it is right now.